In a good news/bad news scenario for employers, health care expenses for U.S. companies will rise at a slower rate in 2006, but will still carry an average price tag of $8,400 per employee, according to an annual survey on health costs conducted by consulting concern Towers Perrin. According to the report, employers will face an 8 percent increase in '06, with employees paying roughly $155 of that number or about 20 percent of health-care premiums.

The Towers-Perrin study found that employees are paying roughly 64 percent more for health care than they did just five years ago, while during that span, healthcare costs to businesses have climbed nearly 80 percent.

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